Culture Comes to Amsterdam in August

Uitmarkt ushers in Amsterdam’s cultural season.

With a population encompassing some 180 nationalities, Amsterdam is a melting pot with culture at its core. From visual and performing arts to electronic music, there’s something for everyone who appreciates the arts.

Options include classical concerts at Royal Concertgebouw, jazz at Bimhuis, cabaret at Carré, international cinema at EYE Film Institute Netherlands, live theater at City Theatre Amsterdam, and pop, hip-hop, soul and electronic music at such world-renowned clubs as Paradiso, Melkweg and Sugar Factory. For kids of all ages, De Krakeling offers a year-round program of live theater, magic, music and dance geared for the young and young-at-heart.

Amsterdam city government supports the arts as a way to bind communities and stimulate cultural and economic growth. This is particularly evident in August, when two fabulous festivals showcase the performing, visual and literary arts.

The Grachtenfestival Celebrates Jazz and Classical Music

The annual Prinsengracht Concert is the highlight of the Grachtenfestival.
The Prinsengracht Concert concludes the Grachtenfestival.

For jazz and classical music aficionados, the 18th edition of the 10-day Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival), from August 14–23, 2015, will bring live music to venues throughout the city. Since 1997, the cultural celebration has drawn 60,000+ visitors annually to the Dutch capital, who come for performances held on pontoons, boats, canal houses, hotels and historic museums. Other stages include outdoor spaces like Museumplein, Rembrandtplein, Bijlmerplein, Erasmuspark and Vondelpark.

For young musicians, the Junior Grachtenfestival features entertainment and workshops, as well opportunities to perform. Toddlers through school-age kids can get interactive with instruments and experience live music up close and personal.badge_AmsterdamInterNations

The free opening program at 21:00 on Friday, August 14, 2015 will take place at Het Compagnietheater, which will also feature daily “yam sessies” at 22:30 in its festival café. The public is invited to jam and groove with Grachtenfestival musicians at this improv fun. Outdoor presentations of Fiddler on the Roof beginning at 16:00 on August 16 and August 23 will feature a violin duo by Ruña ’t Hart and Shin Sihan performed on the roof of the Marc flat boat moored opposite numbers 30-34 on the Spiegelgracht.

Thousands crowd Museumplein for free live performances during Uitmarkt.
Thousands crowd Museumplein for free live performances during Uitmarkt.

Uitmarkt Rings in the Cultural Season

There’s classical ballet and live music—classical, jazz, pop, rock and hip-hop—as well as theater, dance, cinema, books and art at Uitmarkt, one of Holland’s most popular cultural events. From August 28–30, 2015, the celebration of the Netherlands’ cultural scene will showcase some 2,000 performers at almost 30 Amsterdam venues, entertaining 500,000 visitors throughout the weekend.

Find more highlights in my AFAR Guide to Amsterdam.

The lively festival kicks off the new cultural season each year. Over three days, dancers, singers, groups, soloists and orchestras perform in theaters, nightclubs, cafés and concert halls, as well as on outdoor stages in Museumplein, Leidseplein, and other parks and squares. Will you be there?

Scapino Ballet performing on Museumplein for Uitmarkt.
Scapino Ballet performing on Museumplein for Uitmarkt.


  1. I have to say that I am really amazed by this blog, notably by the writer’s art of writing, expressing what “moves Amsterdam” in the very precise, inspirational, smooth and artistic way. Already the headline of this article drags you into the plot. It’s nice to read about so many interesting topics and it’s motivating one to do more. Great pics and spirit! Let’s discover the cultural life of Amsterdam!

  2. Yesterday there was a Russian cultural event in the Museumplein area that was mentioned in this blog entry. The event displayed Russian music as well as culinary arts which included free tasting samples! There were also many Russians dressed in vibrant green costumes; my guess is that they performed a song and dance routine while showing their unique fashion!

  3. I didn’t realize how diverse Amsterdam was until this post. It’s quite fascinating to see these different cultural events taking place. Amsterdam reminds me of my hometown, New York City, with all the art and music surrounding the city. Summer sounds like the prime time to visit, but I wonder what is lined up for the Fall in Amsterdam.

  4. Sounds like there’s so many things to do in Amsterdam ! Can’t wait to be there and explore. Your blog it’s very interesting, I’ve learnt a lot. And you’re talking ably every topics, food, events, places to be… Thanks it’s very useful for strangers.

  5. Amsterdam gets more enticing with each article I read. It is inspiring how the government embraces the culture, I can’t wait to experience that and bring that inspiration back to my home town, Tampa. I can only imagine how conducive it is for a young artist, musician, gallery owner, or even community organizer to live out their dream in Amsterdam.

    • Despite other reports, culture is really what runs Amsterdam. The government makes it happen with funding and cultural events are wildly popular here, Adam. Enjoy!

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